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5 Reasons For Stunted Growth in Children - Growth Disorder

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Dinesh Mittal 92% (73ratings)
Diploma in Child Health (DCH), MBBS
Pediatrician, Delhi  •  20years experience
5 Reasons For Stunted Growth in Children - Growth Disorder

A sharp reduction in the normal growth rate in individuals is known as stunted growth. Though it may happen naturally, it can also be a result of malnutrition, diarrhea, infections, etc. It may also result from the malnutrition of the mother during the development of the fetus. It often results in the following complications:

  1. Premature death
  2. May affect mental development and growth
  3. It is believed to be hereditary with the danger of passing on to future generations

Stunted Growth Of Infants and Children

Also known as nutritional stunting, it is a distinctive reduced growth rate in human body development. Stunted growth is the primary manifestation of undernutrition (or malnutrition) and recurrent infections after birth and early childhood.

Another main reason of stunted growth in infants is malnutrition during fetal development brought by a malnourished mother. The accurate definition of stunting according to WHO stands for the “height for age” value to be lower than two standard deviations of the World Health Organisation Child Growth Standards.

Common Reasons for Delayed Growth

  1. Poor maternal nutrition: A child requires utmost care after birth and while the child is in the mother's womb. Poor maternal nutrition and insufficient consumption of breast milk are considered as important reasons that result in stunted growth in children.
  2. Sanitation: The household's sanitation is considered as a factor that can affect the growth of children. Poor sanitation facilities often lead to a lack of appetite and breakout of diseases like diarrhea which consequently leads to stunted growth in children.
  3. Stunting malnutrition: This is considered as one of the major reasons that cause stunted growth in children. Children need proper nutrients and the lack of it adversely affects the growth of children. It is due to this that cases of stunted growth in children are mostly found in poverty-stricken areas and family.
  4. Hereditary: Hereditary reasons have found to influence stunted growth in some children. A family that shares a history of delayed growth often continues to produce children who are not sufficiently developed with respect to the physical structure.
  5. Use of drugs by mother: Stunted growth in children is as much reliant on external circumstances as it is on the mother. If the mother has a history of using illegal drugs, alcohol, or smoking for a long period of time it has often been seen to result in underdeveloped children.
  6. Feeding Practices: Inadequate feeding, lack of vital nutrients, poor calorie intake can lead to stunted growth in infants. Minimum requirements should be met in the diet in proper frequency to avoid malnutrition.

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